Elbow River is a family-friendly spot, thanks to its relatively shallow waters. On a really hot day, the cool waters make for a calm and refreshing journey. Just remember to wear your life vests as you float, as such is required by local law.We don’t recommend the Elbow River in August as the flow is too shallow to float.Recommended starting point is Sandy Beach Park. This park is a well-used hand launch site for rafts, canoes, and kayaks. To protect the environment, educational and directional signage can promote access at only designated locations. Parking, washrooms, garbage cans, and picnic tables are available.
The take out point would be McDonald Bridge – This site has potential as the last take-out site before the Bow River, since a small parking lot already exists. Toilets, garbage cans, and small modifications to the guardrail are coming in 2018.You will be required to deflate your raft and bring it back in your car to return to Lazy Day Raft Shop.
Sandy Beach to Stanley Park: Two hours
Sandy Beach to McDonald Bridge Three hours
Stanley Park to McDonald Bridge: Two hours
The Bow River is one of Canada’s most iconic spots for lazy river rafting. Its gentle waters and spaciousness make it perfect for floating in, though you can expect a lot of visitors enjoying the three to four-hour ride with you. Most rafters get in at Bowness Park – but the city has expanded the parking lot across the river at West Baker Park. West Baker Park (hand launch) has a boat ramp that is assigned to Emergency Services Vehicle Use Only. The public can use this site as a hand launch.
The Calgary River Access Strategy has designated this site for expansion to accommodate increased use including public trailered boat access. Parking, toilets, picnic tables, and garbage bins are available. We recommend the BOW River because at the end of the trip we help you take your raft off the river and haul it back to our shop.
Another accessible park on the Bow river is Shouldice Park. Entering at Shouldice shortens the amount of time on the river and back to our shop. Shouldice Park (hand launch) has a boat ramp that is assigned to Emergency Services Vehicle Use. The public can use this site as a hand launch.
The Calgary River Access Strategy has plans to add a second boat ramp for public trailered boat access. Improvements will start in 2019. Nearby parking, toilets, garbage bins, and picnic tables are available. There are several points of interest on this float, including beaches, picnic areas, an Olympic Ski jump, beautiful homes, and ducks (please don’t feed them bread).
All parks listed as being on the river and additional information can be found at this link.RIVER ACCESS MAP
Float Times – Float times are a conservative estimate and can vary greatly depending on the water level and flow of the rivers. The Bow River’s water level is normally higher in June and July, and so its flow is also faster at that time.
Shouldice Park to Lazy Day Shop (Sunnyside): Two and a half hours
Edworthy Park to Lazy Day Shop (Sunnyside): One and a half hours
West Baker Park & Bowness Park to Lazy Day Shop (Sunnyside): Four hours
To Calgary Zoo Parking Lot add one hour to your trip from your starting point.
Lazy Day Raft Rentals
Bow River – winds through city of Calgary
Lazy Day Raft Rentals, located in the heart of Downtown Calgary, with easy access to the Bow River, is the easiest and safest way to experience river rafting in Calgary. There’s nothing more relaxing than floating on a river. The gentle moving current, the sun on your face and the cool water below have the uncanny ability to make your troubles disappear, one by one. It seems like nothing in the world can disturb your peace in those few hours.